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September 8: Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Peace—The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, also known as the Genbaku Dome, is the ruins of one of the only structures left standing near the hypocenter of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. Photo by Eloi_Omella / Getty Images.

On September 8, 1957, less than a year before his death, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda delivered a landmark speech condemning nuclear weapons as an absolute evil and calling for their total elimination.

Addressing 50,000 youth at Mitsuzawa Stadium in Yokohama Japan, he declared that day: “Although a movement calling for a ban on the testing of atomic or nuclear weapons has arisen around the world, it is my wish to go further, to attack the problem at its root. I want to expose and rip out the claws that lie hidden in the very depths of such weapons.”[1]

President Toda wanted to communicate to the youth that a religious sense of purpose could not be fulfilled in isolation but must be part of a larger social and human mission. As such, he entrusted them with the responsibility to lead the nuclear abolition movement, while establishing a society where people value the supreme dignity of life.

In a message marking the 50th anniversary of President Toda’s declaration, Ikeda Sensei wrote: “Today, many people have given up on the possibility of nuclear abolition. But peace is always a competition between resignation and hope.”[2]


  1. September 7, 2007 World Tribune, p. 6. ↩︎
  2. September 28, 2007 World Tribune, p. 2. ↩︎

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